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Ousted UCP MLA Barnes throws his support behind Pitt, calls on Kenney to resign

Earlier Friday, Pitt, UCP MLA for Airdrie-East, ripped Kenney, saying his Patio gathering clearly broke COVID-19 regulations.

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Drew Barnes, punted from the UCP caucus last month, has thrown his support behind Airdrie MLA Angela Pitt who has publicly criticized Premier Jason Kenney for his Sky Palace patio dinner.

“Like Todd Loewen, this is another example of a principled, hardworking constituency conservative MLA hearing overwhelmingly from Albertans that Jason Kenney’s entitlement, hypocrisy and refusal to listen have reached a breaking point,” said Barnes, MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat.

“Kenney needs to resign and all Albertans need to get back to building a free, prosperous Alberta for our communities, families and children.”

Earlier Friday, Pitt, UCP MLA for Airdrie-East, ripped Kenney, saying his patio gathering clearly broke COVID-19 regulations.

“Looking at these photos it seems clear to me that several health restrictions were violated. Much of the public concern about this incident has been about the hypocrisy of senior officials breaking their own rules. I can certainly understand these concerns,” Pitt, the deputy speaker of the legislature, wrote in a Facebook statement.

“I am calling on the Premier today to make the rules more consistent, to give businesses fairness, and to allow restaurants to safely operate in the same fashion in which the Premier just portrayed.”

Barnes said he doesn’t think an apology will be forthcoming.

“The level of arrogance is too high to admit an error,” he said.

Angela Pitt. Courtesy Twiiter

Kenney has been pilloried after photos emerged this week showing him sitting with seven other people – including cabinet ministers – on the Sky Palace’s patio, clearly not following socially distancing rules. The linen-covered table is topped with a 40 oz. bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey, wine glasses and bottled water.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Finance Minister Travis Toews, Government House Leader Jason Nixon were all gathered around the table.

The Western Standard’s Fact Check found that Kenney and his guests have 18 counts of violating their own regulations, and eight counts of violating their own guidelines.

Kenney claimed it was a working business dinner that was taken outside because the risk of virus transmission is lower than being inside. He brushed aside NDP criticism saying they did not want Alberta to reopen.

“The current Stage 1 restrictions allow restaurants to operate patio-only service for up to four household members per table, or three people if diners who live alone are with their two close contacts. The Premier had a restaurant dinner on his patio with seven friends, and it remains unclear to Albertans why a restaurant owner can’t have larger groups on their patio,” wrote Pitt.

“As a proud conservative, a former business owner, and the representative for Airdrie-East, it pains me to watch the small businesses in my community being the constant target of government restrictions. I see the extreme amounts of uncertainty. I see the unmeasurable levels of creative problem-solving being invested into working with COVID-19 restrictions, only for the restrictions to change over and over again. I see the stress on so many suffering business owners and their families, and I know as well as every other Albertan that many of these businesses will not make it.”

Barnes and Loewen, the MLA for Central-Peace-Notley, were booted from the UCP Caucus May 13. Loewen that day published a letter calling on Kenney to resign. Barnes had been a thorn in Kenney’s side for months.

The Sky Palace was a media-dubbed name when it emerged former Premier Alison Redford was renovating the top of the Federal Building into a private residence for her and her daughter.

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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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Dennis Richter

    June 5, 2021 at 6:19 am

    There is a better way. The status quo has not worked for at least the past decade. Time to try the alternative. Buy your membership in Alberta’s future. https://wildrose.party/

  2. David

    June 4, 2021 at 9:39 pm

    Sad, sad, truth. I think Alberta would be well served to replace Jason Kenney with Angela Pitt. She has established history of principled support of her constituents. And, as seen here, is able to gather the support of other prominent members of the caucus. I certainly would not vote for UCP under Kenney, but with the party as enthusiastic members of the Pitt Crew…

  3. MD

    June 4, 2021 at 8:00 pm

    It’s time for Jason Kenney to resign! He is not a leader. Albertans want a strong leader with integrity and compassion, someone that will put Albertans first. His destructive unlawful policies have hurt all Albertans to some degree. His agenda for Alberta will not lead us to a better future. The movement for independence is growing every day. He is not the right leader for Alberta and it’s time for him to go. He broke his promises along with the conservative and constitutional principles of his party.

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BC removes capacity limits in some areas, but only if you’re double vaccinated

The change comes into effect October 25, and it applies to indoor sporting events, concerts, theatres, weddings, funeral receptions outside of a funeral home, and organized parties.

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British Columbia will be seeing some restrictions eased for those who have can prove two doses of vaccination against COVID-19.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday that capacity limits for events and gatherings throughout much of the province — where proof-of-vaccination is required — will be lifted.

The change comes into effect October 25, and it applies to indoor sporting events, concerts, theatres, weddings, funeral receptions outside of a funeral home, and organized parties.

Health officials will also be removing the requirement to stay seated at restaurants.

The changes do not apply to regional restrictions in effect in Interior Health, Northern Health, and eastern Fraser Valley.

Personal gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, are restricted to fully vaccinated people throughout the Northern Health region, with the exception of Terrace, Kitimat, Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Stikine, and the Nisga’a areas.

Indoor mask requirements remain in effect for all indoor gatherings and events.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/reidsmall

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WORLD WATCH: U.K. warns of new COVID variant as cases rise yet Japan numbers plummet

Experts are taking a close look at AY.4.2. to see how much of a threat it may pose, but say it is not yet considered a “variant of concern”.

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News reports out of the U.K. are linking an uptick in cases to a new variant that “could be 10 times more infectious than Delta,” yet Japan is seeing some of their lowest case counts since this time last year.

According to the latest official data out of the U.K., an increase in COVID-19 cases includes a genetically sequenced variant labelled AY.4.2 accounting for 6% of new cases.

Graph courtesy worldometers.info

The new strain, some call “Delta Plus”, is said to contain mutations that could give the virus “survival advantages” and could make it more contagious.

Experts are taking a close look at AY.4.2. to see how much of a threat it may pose, but say it is not yet considered a “variant of concern”.

Meanwhile, reports from Japan say a very different narrative where cases have mysteriously plummeted over the last two months.

Low case rates have not been the norm in Japan throughout the pandemic. However, despite the 2020 Summer Olympics being postponed to the summer of 2021 and Japan seeing some of the highest COVID-19 case rates in the world at times, the country has never implemented any full lockdowns.

Over the last two months, rates in Japan went from over 26,121 new cases recorded on August 22 to 494 new cases as of Monday.

Graph courtesy worldometers.info

Some are crediting the incredible turnaround to a late but rapid uptake in vaccinations. Others say it could have something to do with bad August weather in the latter part of the month that kept people home.

Officials are still trying to determine the cause of the huge decline in cases and experts are warning Japan could face another surge with the gradual waning of vaccine efficacy as well as heading into the colder winter months.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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News

EXCLUSIVE: Chu vows not to resign, apologizes and speaks out on allegations

Chu speaks out after allegations against him come to light.

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Embattled Calgary Councillor Sean Chu says he has no intention of resigning, but has apologized to a woman he had a sexual encounter with 24 years ago.

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

City of Calgary officials confirmed Chu won the election race in Ward 4 by a mere 52 votes after allegations surfaced last week of his involvement in August of 1997 with a girl who was just 16 at the time.

“This was nothing but a political assassination,” said Chu.

Chu, who has represented Ward 4 since 2013, also fired back at some media reports which he claims were completely wrong.

Chu said he met the unidentified girl at a pub near Macleod Tr. and 94 Ave. S and not the Husky House restaurant downtown that some media had reported.

“Because it was a licensed establishment I thought the girl was at least 18 years old,” said Chu, who was in uniform with his partner at the time.

“I was single at the time and I thought some girl liked me.”

The Western Standard cannot confirm at this time if there is documentary evidence the encounter was at the Husky House or at the pub on Macleod Tr.

At some point in their interaction, Chu caressed the girl’s leg, an incident that later earned him a letter of reprimand on his file.

Chu said the girl seemed interested in him so when he was off duty he changed into civilian clothes and went back to the pub to meet the girl.

The evening continued with Chu and the girl eventually heading to his home.

Once there, the pair “started kissing and hugging, but there was no intercourse,” said Chu.

Chu admits there was “some touching underneath clothes”.

“She then said she wanted to go home and I drove her straight there.”

Chu denied media reports that a gun was produced during the evening at his home. He said he checked his service weapon in at the police’s traffic office when he signed off duty.

At one point Chu said he owned a shotgun, but denied that weapon was ever produced or shown in any way that night.

“If there had been a gun involved there would have been charges,” said Chu.

The Western Standard has not seen any documents that indicate the presence or absence of a firearm on the evening in question.

Chu said he does not drink alcohol, but added he didn’t know if the girl had been drinking.

After the incident, the girl reported the case to city police claiming she was sexually assaulted. That lead to nine years of investigations, court battles and appeals, with news of the case only leaking last week, days before the civil election.

There were never any sexual assault or weapons charges laid, and Chu says the letter of reprimand was the only discipline that came out of the entire process.

Documents obtained by the Western Standard and other media indicate that the woman claimed the whole process was a “cover-up.”

Chu served as a Calgary police officer from 1992 until he was elected in 2013.

Chu is now at the centre of a political storm with friends and supporters deserting him.

Premier Jason Kenney described the allegations as “appalling” but said he didn’t think there was any way for the province to remove a councillor who han’t been convicted under the Criminal Code.

He said he would be happy to meet with Mayor-Elect Jyoti Gondek to discuss the situation.

Kenney said as much of the legal documents are under seal, it’s up to Chu to prove his innocence.

Calgary-Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner tweeted her disgust at the incident.

“I have supported Mr. Chu in the past, but firmly withdraw all such support in light of these reports. Believing women means walking the talk,” she tweeted.

“In light of the disciplinary action, as a result of inappropriate contact with a minor which has been reported by CBC Calgary, MP Rempel Garner is formally withdrawing her endorsement of Councillor Sean Chu and he is no longer a member of her Constituency Association.”

Rempel Garner tweet

Now Chu said he is looking at his legal options and a possible defamation suit over some of what he called the false reporting.

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

Chu said he wouldn’t comment on remarks made by Gondek that she will try and remove him from council.

“I will continue to tell the truth at council and will be a fiscal hawk,” he said.

“The most important thing is I told the truth and the truth will prevail.”

It appears any bid to try and remove Chu would fail because he was not charged or convicted criminally.

Calgary police released a statement Monday about its investigation in 1997. It states:

“We want to reassure Calgarians that when this matter came to light in 1997 it was taken seriously by the Service and managed in accordance with the Police Act. This has been a complex legal matter with multiple complaints and investigations as well as appeals to the Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board. One of those decisions was overturned by the Alberta Court of Appeal. Ultimately, one allegation of misconduct was sustained through our internal disciplinary process.”

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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