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Head of public service praises censured civil servant

Janice Charette, the $343,000-a year head of the federal public service praised Iain Stewart, the head of the Public Health Agency, who this week became the first civil servant cited for contempt since 1891.




The head of the federal public service has praised the work of a civil servant charged with contempt of Parliament, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

Janice Charette, the $343,000-a year head of the federal public service praised Iain Stewart, the head of the Public Health Agency, who this week became the first civil servant cited for contempt since 1891.

“Appearing before Parliament is part of our duties as public servants,” Charette wrote in a staff email.

Stewart, $321,000-a year president of the PHA, on June 21 was cited for contempt in person on the floor of the House after he defied four separate orders to disclose records over security clearance given Chinese scientists at an Agency bio lab in Winnipeg.

He did not apologize and was not asked to speak.

Charette, the interim Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to Cabinet, called the censure “a difficult situation,” “a very unusual situation,” and defended Stewart as “one of our colleagues” and an example to all.

“The situation was extremely challenging and I am particularly concerned by the personal nature of the commentary in relation to Iain’s actions,” wrote Charette, adding: “He acted in a way that represents public service values and ethics.”

“Iain demonstrated exemplary professionalism.

“I believe Iain’s treatment has been unfair and regrettable.”

The censure for contempt did not result in any penalty or loss of benefits.

“I am grateful for his leadership,” Charette added.

Stewart in June 18 testimony at the Commons health committee said he was worried about “immunity” if he were to disclose records.

“So you’re worried about immunity?” replied New Democrat MP Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway).

“Is that what this is about, Mr. Stewart, your own hide?”

MPs at a March 22 hearing of the Special Commons Committee on Canada-China Relations expressed anger over Stewart’s refusal to answer questions.

“I’m not really at liberty to talk about that, sir,” said Stewart.

“What do you mean, you’re ‘not at liberty’ to talk about that? You’re in a parliamentary committee here,” replied Bloc Québécois MP Stéphane Bergeron (Montarville, Que.).

“Mr. Stewart, has there ever been a case where any government lab has fired scientists as a result of security breaches?” asked Conservative MP Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.).

“That’s a very difficult question to answer,” replied Stewart.

“Well, I’m glad you have a bloody senior office in this country where you’re supposed to account to parliamentarians and the Canadian people,” said MP Genuis.

“Now answer the damn question.”

RCMP earlier raided the Public Health Agency’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg and seized computer hard drives after security clearance was revoked for several Chinese employees, including one affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army. Two others, husband and wife Keding Chang and Xiangguo Qiu, were fired January 20 in what cabinet now calls a case of national security.

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. francis witzel

    June 27, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    So who exactly are they trying to protect , certainly is not the public , but why would they?

  2. Left Coast

    June 26, 2021 at 9:44 am

    $343,000-a year for this corrupt loon . . . notice the last name.

    A bilingual Equal Opportunity Hire. Probably Govt is the only job she has ever had.

    The West should have left 30 years ago . . . you can’t fix the corruption in Ottawa and the East.

  3. Marvin Lefebvre

    June 26, 2021 at 6:11 am

    This is total BS they both should be fired

  4. L P

    June 25, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    Those are some mighty impressive salaries these civil servants are drawing. I used to think that the only way to be a multi-millionaire was to be a captain of industry, a movie star, or a pro athlete. I guess I can now add “public sector bureaucrat” to that list.

  5. Andrew

    June 25, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Alberta Separation. Go Wildrose!

  6. Dennis

    June 25, 2021 at 11:39 am

    Another in a looooong list of reasons why Alberta must distance ourselves from this corrupt, dysfunctional system.
    Wildrose.party 2023

  7. Steven Ruthven

    June 25, 2021 at 11:17 am

    I am thinking these highly paid civil servants are believing they run the show in Ottawa. Not accountable, not forthcoming, not truthful.

    Time to purge the old guard, in Ottawa, and bring in new blood that has a sense of duty to the Country. Instead of these well paid civil servants covering their butts and patting each other on the back.

    These are not civil servants who do the will of parliament, but are they doing the will of the Prime Minister in covering his butt?

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Independent Alberta MLAs call for emergency debate on forced vaccinations

And the pair said they will not be revealing their own vaccination status, calling it a personal issue




Alberta’s two Independent MLAs are asking for an emergency debate in the Legislature over the issue of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies, especially for health workers and the RCMP.

Drew Barnes, MLA for Cypress-Medicine, joined his colleague Todd Lowen, MLA for Central-Peace-Notley in making the call to Premier Jason Kenney.

And the pair said they will not be revealing their own vaccination status, calling it a personal issue.

Barnes said he was particularly worried about the impact on the RCMP, especially in rural detachments where he claimed few officers had been vaccinated.

More than 33,000 RCMP officers and support staff have signed an open letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki opposing mandatory vaccinations.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said all federal workers, including the RCMP, must be vaccinated of face job consequences. But government memos say two-thirds of the civil service could be exempt.

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Vax deadline for BC health-care workers looms overhead

In BC, roughly 5,500 unvaccinated health-care workers will be stripped of their jobs on October 26 if they do not get their first shot.




Health-care workers have been praised for their efforts surrounding COVID-19 for nearly 20 months, however, the ephemeral display of gratitude comes to an end tomorrow.

On October 26, roughly 5,500 unvaccinated health-care workers in British Columbia will be stripped of their jobs, as set forth in a public health order.

The order demands workers provide proof of having received one dose of vaccination against COVID-19 by the aforementioned date.

If they get their first shot before November 15, workers will be permitted employment seven days afterwards, provided they follow extra safety precautions until they get a second dose — which must be administered within 35 days of the first.

“We’re hopeful, of course, that people will move to get vaccinated and comply with the upcoming order,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.

The roughly 5,500 employees do not include the unvaccinated long-term and assisted living facility workers who were forced out of their jobs by the province on October 12.

Similar policies have been rolled out across the country, but not without resistance.

In August, Alberta Health Service (AHS) announced that all employees, volunteers, and contracted health-care providers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Last week, the deadline was pushed until November 30.

Similarly, Quebec extended its proof-of-vaccination timeline for health-care workers by one month, with the new deadline falling on November 15.

BC’s deadline — which looms a mere hours away — seems to be fixed in its place.

“The government forcing health-care workers to become vaccinated is really problematic because — for one reason — these are the people most likely to have natural immunity,” Dr. Steven Pelech, chair of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee at the Canadian Covid Care Alliance told the Western Standard.

“This is the way the health-care system treats them… a year ago they were heroes for helping save lives, now they are discarded for being unvaccinated.”

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard

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Chu sworn in as Calgary Ward 4 councillor

Chu was sworn in by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice John Rooke. Earlier Calgary mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek had said she would refuse to swear Gondek in over his actions in 1997 with a 16-year-old girl.




Embattled Calgary Coun. Sean Chu has been officially sworn in again to the represent the area despite allegations of a 24-year-old sex scandal that erupted just before election day.

Chu was sworn in by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice John Rooke. Calgary mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek earlier said she would refuse to swear Gondek in over his actions in 1997 with a 16-year-old girl.

Gondek did not even mention Chu’s name during the ceremony.

In a media scrum following in the swearing-in ceremony, Gondek said council will be focusing on looking at the biggest priorities for each councillor in each ward and which councillor will be serving on the various committees, boards and commissions.

When asked why she chose not to swear councillor Chu in, Gondek said, “I didn’t feel it was appropriate for me to swear him in.”

“I’m focused on working with new members of council and one that have returned and letting them enjoy this day of being sworn in. All of us are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished and we are looking forward to celebrating this day as ours. So I’m choosing to focus on that today,” said Gondek when asked if she plans to take Chu up on his invitation to speak with him in person about the resurfaced allegations.

“The future will dictate that. Today I’m incredibly focuses on my family and my collegues who’ve achived a great success,” Gondek said about meeting with Chu at a later date.

Gondek became the first female mayor of Calgary in history. Eleven new councillors and two former ones were also sworn in Monday.

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek was presented with the Chain of Office by her husband Todd. Justice John Rooke is on the left.

The Chu allegation involved an incident where he met the girl at the King’s Head Pub. After hitting it off, the pair agreed to meet later when Chu was off-duty and in civilian clothes.

The pair went to Chu’s house where he admits they engaged in consensual sexual foreplay. The girl then asked Chu to drive her home, which he did.

The girl later filed a complaint alleging Chu sexually assaulted her.

According to documents obtained by the Western Standard, Chu’s accuser said he had sexually assaulted her while holding a gun to her head.

However, Insp. Debbie Middleton-Hope, the presiding officer at the disciplinary hearing in 2003, said testimony from the then 16-year-old minor was not credible and not to be believed.

“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 well-respected, now-retired, Calgary policewoman, in transcripts provided to the Western Standard.

“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 confirmed there was no evidence that would have indicated Chu was aware the woman was underage stating, “several witnesses said [the girl] appeared to be 19 to 21 years old.”

Although allegations of sexual misconduct were thoroughly investigated and dismissed over the investigation, Chu had a letter of reprimand added to his file for discreditable conduct for caressing the accuser’s leg while on duty and was ordered to undergo six months of ethics training.

Gondek and Premier Jason Kenney, along with most of the incoming council have called for Chu to resign.

Chu offered to meet with Gondek in person to discuss the situation and has vowed not to resign.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean any harm,” Chu told the Western Standard in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

“I have always told the truth. My reputation is important to me and now my family is hurting,” said Chu.

Chu is now looking at his legal options and a possible defamation suit over some of what he called “false reporting.”

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard

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