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Kenney defends Sky Palace dinner, said they bought cheap whiskey

Bottles of wine, sparkling water and a 40 oz. of Jameson were all on the table. Jameson sells for $50 in Calgary liquor stores and Kenney pointed out it’s not the best whiskey available.

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Premier Jason Kenney defended his Sky Palace dinner during question period — and advised taxpayers Jameson is not really a great whiskey — as he laid out his patio plans for coming days.

The dinner dominated question period after photos emerge of Kenney dining outside with cabinet at other government staffers.

He is pictured at a table of six – none of whom are socially distanced or wearing masks. Two other men were seen walking away, but Health Minister Tyler Shandro said there were no waiters at the event.

Bottles of wine, sparkling water and a 40 oz. of Jameson were all on the table. Jameson sells for $50 in Calgary liquor stores and Kenney pointed out it’s not the best whiskey available.

“Every reasonable effort was made to be socially distant,” Kenney said under NDP questioning.

Kenney said the dinner meeting was “fully compliant” with AHS regulations and said it makes sense to sit outside because there is less of a risk of virus transmission.

NDP Glenora MLA Sarah Hoffman mocked Kenney for his repeated “we’re all in this together” statement saying it looks like there’s a different set of rules for Kenney.

She compared the Sky Palace Scandal to the Christmas-time UCP Snowbird Scandal where numerous MLAs and one cabinet member jetted off to warmer locations, even though Alberta was in COVID-19 lockdown.

She said the Sky Palace is “the most hated palace in the province.”

Kenney repeatedly said the NDP “doesn’t want Alberta to reopen.”

He also asked NDP questioners if they had ever enjoyed patio time with then Premier Rachel Notley.

The premier said he plans to attend another patio Thursday night with friends and a weekend backyard barbecue.

Edmonton Centre NDP MLA David Shepherd noted four wine bottles were on the table. “Red or white,” he asked Kenney, who didn’t answer.

Kenney said the dinner “was at personal expense” from a nearby take out restaurant.

Shandro dodged the question of who exactly paid the tab or if anyone drove home after consuming alcohol.

Irfan Sabir, NDP MLA for Calgary McCall, asked if there was an AHS investigation into the dinner for breaking COVID-19 regulations. Kenney replied saying there was no need because the rules were followed.

“You owe all Albertans $8,000,” Sabir told Kenney, referring to the $2,000 COVID-19 fines for people breaking the rules.

Independent MLA Drew Barnes called on Kenney to resign.

Barnes tweet

Mount Royal University political science prof Lori Williams said the photos aren’t a good look for Kenney.

“If the answer is ‘technically we didn’t break the rules,’ you’re losing the communications battle,” Williams told the Western Standard.

“Worse, it isn’t at all clear they didn’t break the rules. Patio gatherings are supposed to have only members of the same household at a table and, if they’re not, they are supposed to be six feet apart or masked.

“Of all people, this involves the health minister, finance minister and premier. And of all places, a patio at the infamous Sky Palace. It reverberates entitlement The optics are abysmal, and a blow to a government and a leader already tanking in the polls.

“The premier cannot claim he didn’t make the rules clear, as he did with travel rule violations in January. Whether it’s technically a legal breach or failure to respect his own guidelines, he has added to his problems at a time he can least afford to.”

Sky Palace – actually the Federal Building – was one of former premier Alison Redford’s passion projects gone awry, with Redford intending to use public funds to build a private penthouse for her and her daughter.

While this never came to fruition, the building stands as a symbol of “Alison Redford’s entitlement and her subsequent unpopularity and resignation,” Mount Royal University political science professor Duane Bratt told the Toronto Star.

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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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Bryan

    June 6, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Krooked ‘Justin’ Kenney was at least partially correct. I agree that the NDP
    “doesn’t want Alberta to reopen.” He omitted the fact that he and Tyler ‘ShamWow’ don’t want churches, or small businesses open, that don’t bow down and ‘kiss the ring’.

  2. Proudly_Free

    June 4, 2021 at 9:37 am

    Too bad none of them were pulled over by police for a DUI afterwards. Then we could lock them up and fire them all and leave them with a real criminal record. They would never be able to run for office again.

  3. K

    June 4, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Alcoholic, power-tripping hypocrites rule over you

  4. Al Neitsch

    June 4, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Wine, whiskey, beer, fine waters. This is leadership? Rules for thee. Let them eat cake etc. There are words and actions that need saying and doing. The UCP no longer works for Albertans. They work for another master and against Albertans.

  5. Mars Hill

    June 3, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    It’s hard to believe we’re talking about adults that run this once great province.

  6. berta baby

    June 3, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    Is there anything kenney touches that doesn’t burst into flames? … mr wants to open now huh lol wasn’t he calling the cowboys disease spreaders? Didn’t he and shandro arrays 3 pastors and a bussiness man? Didn’t he weaponiz the courts to hammer every Albertan ?

    Wonder if o toole will give him a riding in Ontario after we kick him out of Gods country

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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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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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