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Health czar censured by MPs in historic vote

Iain Stewart was named for defying three orders for documents detailing an RCMP raid at the Health Agency’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

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For the first time since 1891, a top federal bureaucrat has been censured by Parliament, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

By a vote of 176-150, MPs voted to censure Iain Stewart, president of the Public Health Agency, and summoned him to the bar of the House to be formally cited for contempt.

“Where do we go now? How do we get things done? We settle this by democracy,” said Conservative MP Dan Albas (Central Okanagan-Similkameen, B.C.).

Stewart was named for defying three orders for documents detailing an RCMP raid at the Health Agency’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. Top security clearance was given to a team of Chinese researchers who were subsequently fired, including a scientist with the People’s Liberation Army.

The Chinese researchers were fired last January 20. The Public Health Agency said an RCMP investigation is ongoing.

But Health Minister Patricia Hajdu on Thursday defended the PHA’s refusal to disclose records.

“The Liberal government will never play games with Canadians’ national security,” said Hajdu.

The Commons majority ordered the records be released to legal counsel by Monday.

“Handing over these documents is not a matter of political choice,” said Conservative MP Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.).

“It is actually a matter of law. The Liberals should not think of themselves as being above the law.”

“We know now that of the people working at the Winnipeg lab, one in particular was an official from the People’s Liberation Army’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences. We know there has been interchange and other forms of co-operation between Chinese military institutions and Canadian labs.”

“It seems to bring up a pattern of behaviour from the government,” said New Democrat MP Richard Cannings (South Okanagan-West Kootenay, B.C.).

“It is a pattern of a lack of transparency and a lack of openness. In terms of committees, we have seen the government thwart the work of committees through filibusters to stop the production of documents and to stop important witnesses from coming forward.”

Stewart in March 22 testimony at the Commons Special Committee on Canada-China Relations invoked the Privacy Act, national security and the ongoing police investigation in refusing to discuss suspicious activity at the Winnipeg lab.

“You gave us three rationales for not answering,” replied Conservative MP John Williamson (New Brunswick Southwest).

“There is a fourth one, and that is just bureaucratic butt-covering, incompetence, malfeasance in the department. The reasons you gave us are far from exhaustive.”

Stewart is the first federal employee to be summoned to the Commons for censure since 1891 when the superintendent of the Government Printing Bureau was called to the bar for pocketing kickbacks from contractors totaling $14,317, the modern equivalent of more than $340,000. Superintendent André Senécal had a yearly salary of $1,950 at the time.

Senécal did not appear for shaming, instead fleeing to Montréal. He was successfully prosecuted in 1896.

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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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Steven Ruthven

    June 21, 2021 at 1:18 am

    Has there been an inquiry as to why the Governor General of Canada would give an Order of Canada to a Chinese National? Will the Order of Canada be rescinded for that Chinese National?

    Below is probably why Mr. Stewart, President of the Public Health Agency is about to get his pee pee slapped.
    Two Winnipeg scientists Keding Chang and Xiangguo Qiu, in 2019 shipped samples of Ebola and Henipavirus overseas at the Wuhan Institute’s request.

    I hope the reality of what Justin Trudeau has done to Canada bites that brat square on his ass. Comes right down to it. You can be sure sock boy is up to his neck involved. Let’s see how bad his acting is when the curtain goes up on his love affair with China.

  2. Steven Ruthven

    June 21, 2021 at 1:05 am

    Health Minister Patricia Hajdu is a true believer in Trudeau’s way of hiding the truth from Canadians, Cabinet Privilege & National Security.

    Cabinet Privilege wins the day again for the fake feminist’s who stroked his cabinet privilege in the SNC-L obstruction of justice affair, I bet he can still taste it on his lips.

    Trudeau’s appointed an RCMP Commissioner who had no back bone to bite the hand that appointed her. So the Ethic’s Commissioner did the investigation for her. Sad reality in Canada. The Liberal Government is above the Common Law of Canada in everyway.

    Why are there no proper checks and balances on the power of a corrupt prime minister? What does this say, really, about democracy here in Canada?

    Trudeau is a Marxist & if you spineless ones haven’t figured that out by now. You have the authoritative government you deserve & many, in the future, will wish they had seen the Marxist signs, well displayed by the sock boy over the past six years. Reap what you sow.

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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.

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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.”

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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
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com

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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.

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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.
mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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