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UPDATED: Calgary council to keep mask bylaw until at least July 5

City administration recommended the July 1 opening date, presenting council with four options, including keeping the facemask bylaw until the end of the year, when 75% of citizens are vaccinated or repealing it July 1.




Calgary City Council has voted to keep its mask bylaw in place until the end of the first week of July – even though the province is removing it’s ban on Canada Day.

Council voted by a margin of 8-6 to keep the face-covering bylaw in place until administration comes back with a status report July 5 about how COVID-19 is affecting the city .

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he’s “super optimistic” about Alberta’s COVID-19 recovery but “are we going to get there by July 1 … what we’re really talking about is a couple of weeks.”

Alberta reported 60 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, the lowest daily case number recorded in 10 months.

Coun. Jeromy Farkas, who is running for mayor in the October election, voted against the motion saying it “could create a climate of fear.” He wants the bylaw dropped July 1, the same day as the province.

“What do our officials know that (Chief Medical Officer of Health) Dr. (Deena) Hinshaw doesn’t,” asked Farkas.

A motion by Farkas to open July 1, failed on a 7-7 vote.

But Coun. Diane Colley-Urqhart expressed concern the upcoming Calgary Stampede could turn into a super-spreader event saying “we need a made in Calgary solution. We have a duty of care.”

She put forward a motion to have the bylaw in place until at least July 26, to look at another report on how the virus is doing in the city.

Nenshi noted if Colley-Urqhart’s motion failed, the mask bylaw would be in place until December.

“I’ve been working my butt off on this… I will take a little credit for how the numbers are getting better in northeast Calgary,” he said.

Keating then put forward a motion to ask the administration to come back July 5, which was accepted by an 8-6 vote.

Farkas also asked if the province could make the law invalid, with city staff agreeing it could.

Coun. Ward Sutherland said he was voting against the original motion because it’s a matter of choice. Those who feel uncomfortable can still wear a mask.

Coun. Jeff Davison, also a mayoral candidate, voted against the original motion, too, adding he wouldn’t attend events that could put him in a vulnerable position.

Coun. Druh Farrell said she didn’t trust the UCP provincial government getting the COVID-19 masking issue correct.

In arguing the mask mandate should end July 1, Coun. Peter Demong asked: “Who am I as a city councillor to go against the advice of the chief medical officer of health?”

Bylaw officials told council the continuing mask bylaw would be “difficult to enforce” and officers would have to use “discretion.”

City administration recommended the July 1 opening date, presenting council with four options, including keeping the face mask bylaw until the end of the year when 75% of citizens are vaccinated, or repealing it July 1.

Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Sue Henry said the “risk is not gone,” citing the new wave of the Delta-variant.

But she noted cases “are decreasing dramatically” and there are currently less than 1,000 active cases in Calgary.

Family doctor Raj Bhardwaj complimented council for bringing in the mask bylaw saying “it had saved lives.”

He said 475,000 Calgarians – made up mainly of those under 12 – currently have no protection from COVID-19 or its variants.

“I think we would all much rather go a bit more slowly now, than have to go through this all again,” said Bhardwaj.

“Using masks indoors is still the right thing to do for a little while longer.”

He said Alberta won’t know whether the lower case rates also takes possible future pressures off their hospital system.

And he urged council not pick a specific date to end the mask bylaw, suggesting the end of August would be a more prudent time.

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. Ming

    July 3, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    This is ridiculous. My son cannot be masked and has been turned away from many of his childhood favourite places because of it. Remove this BS bylaw so he can enjoy his summer!!!

  2. Proudly_Free

    June 25, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    The face diapers themselves are the super spreaders, especially now that we’re entering into a heat wave. Putting a sweat-inducing, oxygen-restricting, multi-layered piece of cloth over one’s face in hundred degree heat breeds everything from Legionnaires disease to meningitis to pneumonia to E. coli.

    A group of parents in Gainesville, Florida took their children’s masks which had been worn for 8 hours a day at school to a research lab at University of Florida to have them tested for pathogens. The ones I just listed above were just a few of the dangerous bacteria, viruses and pathogens that were found on the masks. As a control, a T-shirt that had also been in the same environment for the period of time was also brought in. The was nothing on the shirt. The face diapers, however, were chuck full. Granted, it was very small group of parents, about 6, but there’s ZERO reason to think that even if 60,000 or 6,000,000 were tested, that they would come back any different.

    The only reason our commie council is doing this is to send us the message that they can control our lives however they want for as long as they want.

    Here’s the link to the Florida story: https://www.theblaze.com/op-ed/horowitz-a-group-of-florida-parents-cultured-their-childrens-masks-and-found-dangerous-bacteria?utm_source=theblaze-breaking&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20210616Trending-HorowitzMasks&utm_term=ACTIVE%20LIST%20-%20TheBlaze%20Breaking%20News

  3. Wendy Dussault

    June 24, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    Oh my goodness Calgary protest these stupid people take your masks off July 1 take the ticket and then take them to court make these fools justify the bi-laws and then don’t forget come the election…..get rid of these Agenda 2030 agents!!!!!!!

  4. K

    June 22, 2021 at 7:51 am

    This ridiculous virtue signalling exercise is damaging people’s health. We are not a GAME you can play with, END IT NOW.

  5. Penny4YourThouhts

    June 22, 2021 at 7:00 am

    Business owners and every citizen who doesn’t believe in masks need to write city hall and voice their disdain AND there need to be petitions with thousands of signatures delivered to Nenshi and his merry band of fascist fools to let them know that just how many people actually want this to end. All these idiots who want to keep useless masks in place are going by social media posts and polls which are utterly useless and mostly fake.

  6. David

    June 21, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    Nenshi needs diapers. Please donate before his fat anus spews more carbon and the whole city of Calgary burns.

    Seriously. What kind of socialist tells you to wear a mask when they know perfectly well it is useless? Answer: the kind that could just as easily order you to take a train to the “new and progressive gas chamber”.

  7. Liliana Brown

    June 21, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    So they pretty much did nothing other than argue. Awesome. And in the meantime he rest of Alberta will get to enjoy going massless while Calgary continues to suffer.

  8. Andrew

    June 21, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    All these city councillor losers need to lose their jobs.

  9. Steven Ruthven

    June 21, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    One last socialist dig at Calgarians. You a Doctor Urqhart ? How did the Ward 9 Councilor vote?

    Super spreader event. Like Justin Trudeau is a Conservative mostly bullshit.

  10. Joe Calgary

    June 21, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    Good luck with enforcing that. October cannot come fast enough.

  11. Bill Mccann

    June 21, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    Lardass nothead is high risk.

  12. Tony

    June 21, 2021 at 4:32 pm


  13. K

    June 21, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    Insane. And when the fake numbers fake increase in the fall again, you’ll lose your chance at living diaper-free.

  14. Bryan

    June 21, 2021 at 1:16 pm

    Unfortunately, Coun. Diane Colley-Urqhart will never admit that the Calgary Stampede is, every year, ‘a super-spreader event’.

    Hookers from all over Canada arrive for 10 days of ‘fun and frolic’ each July during the Stampede. It already IS a ‘super-spreader event! ;^)

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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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