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Penticton joins list of cities cancelling Canada Day celebtations

The mayor reached out to Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band, to ask how council could support the local First Nations community following the Kamloops discovery.




The city of Penticton has become the second municipality in BC to cancel Canada Day festivites.

Celebrating Canada Day has been called into question across the country after the discovery of the gravesites of 215 undocumented children at a Kamloops residential school.

“When we heard what happened in Kamloops and they found the 215 unmarked graves of those children, we thought it was appropriate to hold back and wait to see what the federal government was going to announce,” Mayor John Vassilaki told CBC.

The mayor reached out to Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band, to ask how council could support the local First Nations community following the Kamloops discovery.

“The Chief also made a note that if we were to cool down the celebrations this year, it would be greatly appreciated by the Penticton Indian Band,” said Vassilaki. 

“And we wanted to show respect and reconciliation with what happened in Kamloops.”

St. Albert this weekend became the first city in Alberta to cancel celebrations.

“In respect of our community members who have experienced and continue to experience the effects of intergenerational trauma due to the residential school system, the City of St. Albert will not be hosting its annual Canada Day fireworks display this year,” it said in a tweet.

The city of Victoria was the first out of the block when they cancelled their Canada Day programing last week.

“As First Nations mourn and in light of the challenging moment we are in as a Canadian nation following the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Kamloops Residential School, Council has decided to take the time to explore new possibilities, instead of the previously planned virtual Canada Day broadcast,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a media statement.

City council, who voted unanimously to change its plans for July 1, noted everyone will celebrate Canada Day in their own way.

“The City of Victoria aims to take leadership and provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection and examination of what it means to be Canadian in light of recent events and what we already know from our past,” says the City of Victoria in a release.

Helps also made headlines in 2018 when she had a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald – one of the central figures involved in bringing residential schools into Canada – removed from the front of Victoria City Hall.

An estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children attended residential schools between the 1860s and 1996, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Kamloops Industrial School (later known as the Kamloops Indian Residential School) was opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890 before growing into the largest school in the Indian Affairs residential school system.

While several Catholic bishops across Canada have apologized and requested the release of documents in response to the discovery in Kamloops, the Vatican has yet to issue an apology or release documents.

As for the Canadian government, 15 tons of paper documents related to the residential school system between 1936 and 1944, including 200,000 Indian Affairs files, were destroyed by Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s government, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report.

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. Left Coast

    June 21, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Richard . . . “Potential” ? ? ?

    Only a fool decides on the issue before the FACTS are present. You & the Mayor have a lot in common it seems . . .

    Do a little research man, in the 19th Century 50 was Old . . . most people died not make it past 50 something.
    My Grandmother’s siblings, there were 8, 4 died before they were 13. And she grew up in a very civilized country at the time . . . not on a Cdn Reservation where life in the late 19th and early 20th century was very primitive.
    Same Grandmother homesteaded near the Winnipeg River in about 1910 . . . used to feed an indian family squatting on land a mile down the road.

    Today not much has changed . . . Indian Act is a racist document . . . at one time the Chinese & Japanese in Canada were not treated any better. One Friend told me how the McKenzie King Government stole his Grandfathers Farm in Richmond back in the 1940s.

    You appear Richard to have Way too Much Emotion and way to little Critical Thinking . . . something common in Canada today. We knew about this situation 5 years ago and nothing has been done to this day . . . like so many things our FakeStream Media and our Kum-by-yaw lieberals attach themselves too . . . reality will be much less dramatic.

    How about a movement to FIX the Canada’s blight, the Indian Act. A piece of land, and a cheque for each adult and a citizenship document making them equal and responsible citizens for the first time in their lives. Of course there would be 1000s out of work in Ottawa . . .

  2. Sandy Beech

    June 21, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    To Richard:

    Asking questions is not “hatred”. Questions are key to the door of truth. All anyone is saying is; let’s get the FACTS before we condemn a whole nation of people because of the actions of their government and school board. I think even the First Nations peoples have expressed this sentiment.

    The two most used and abused words in the english language today are “Love” and “Hate”. I doubt most people even know their real meaning any more. Some confuse love with sex and even love inanimate objects while others confuse hate with disagreement.

    A person tells their mate, as if by rote, that they love them. They then see a car on the TV and with outrageous joy proclaim how much they love that car. I have seen this countless times with my own eyes. Sex and love have nothing to do with each other. Sure you can have sex with someone you love but you don’t necessarily love who you are having sex with.

    I don’t agree with what you are saying; therefore I “hate” you? In what sane universe does that apply?

    Hate and love are strong human emotions and should not be bandied about outside their true meaning.

  3. Sandy Beech

    June 21, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    We don’t even know who these people were yet, when they were buried or what they died from. It’s a church so undoubtedly there will be a grave yard there. Jumping to conclusions, yet again, and reacting instead of acting while assuming a lot. Who are they actually? When was each one buried and by whom? If the worst is proven to be true; do you really think that the people had any knowledge of these events? Canada was sparsely populated and communication was sporadic. Even in modern days I doubt most people knew about this. The first time I heard about it was in the 1980s. I was totally shocked and horrified that a government and educators could do such a thing. And let’s not kid ourselves it was the acts of a few people that set this in motion; NOT the citizens.

    Ground piercing radar cannot detect bone; especially if it has been buried for decades. The bones absorb the surrounding minerals etc and become like the soil. It appears that what they are detecting are metal coffins, or coffins with metal on them. If these people were just dumped in a grave; would they have a coffin? The reports of a “mass grave” are totally over the top; and said mainly to invoke rage. Just as the misinformation printed by a newspaper in Tulsa Oklahoma sparked the already tense racial rift in that city. Again one city, not the whole country; a city in a state run by Democrats/Liberals. As demonstrated on Oak Island; this radar is ambiguous at best.

    History we DO know. John A MacDonald was a LIBERAL! With the passage of the British North America Act in 1867, and the implementation of the Indian Act (1876), the government was required to provide Indigenous youth with an education and to assimilate them into Canadian society. Egerton Ryerson was an educator who promoted and laid out the ground work. Ryerson was Ontario’s chief superintendent of schools from 1842 to 1876. Students were isolated and their culture was disparaged or scorned. Remember it was the government and school board that agreed to this.

    More recently the Trudeau (Liberal) government and the superintendent of schools are doing the exact same thing in schools today with their digressive policies. They have isolated the children, under the pretence of a pandemic, and are teaching the students to disparage or scorned their culture and their gender. Parents are under threat to conform or they will take their children from them if they resist the indoctrination of their children into the New World Order. They have resurrected their sins from the past and learned absolutely nothing the last one hundred plus years except how to be authoritarian and crueler.

    If the government hadn’t gotten involved; maybe things would have been different. Look at all the government run institutions back then; mental institutions, prisons, work houses, etc. All were dehumanizing and poorly run. Funds that were allocated to these facilities were sucked up by the bureaucrats and unscrupulous employees leaving nothing for the inmates of these government run institutions.

    Pierre Eliot Trudeau’s statue should be razed too. He did nothing for the first nations people and wrote his “White Paper”; which you should read. Trudeau junior has followed in his father’s footsteps and has done nothing for these people; even though he promised he would. As time passes we can see how empty his promises are; unless you are the New World order.

    We are being guilted and shamed about something the government did; not the citizens.

  4. Richard

    June 21, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Left Coast. Stop trying to make excuses for potential murder of children. It is you that is making huge assumptions before an investigation. Re, “Mortality Rate of Native Children was living on reserves in the 19th and early 20th Century? Likely 30% or higher . . .”

    Geez Man. You are the most insensitive person I have crossed with on any forum so far. You are way off base trying to justify your hatred. I too am totally frustrated (pissed) with FN politics, hand-outs, corruption of leaders and the FN criminals that get off (nearly) free. But this is one story that rises above all and is, for now, untouchable.

  5. Richard

    June 21, 2021 at 11:51 am

    I assume all city staff will be working the July 1 holiday and/or will not receive holiday pay?

  6. K

    June 21, 2021 at 8:38 am

    What good does this do? How will reactions to the past benefit our dying society? All distractions and further exercises in demoralizing an already deracinated public.

  7. Tony

    June 20, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    To paraphrase Hannah Arendt, when we are all made to feel guilty, no one is guilty and confessions of collective guilt are the best way to safeguard against discovering real culprits and the magnitude of the crimes. All of these empty performative gestures and attempts to make us all feel responsible for the past make existing problems worse. The reason I don’t get excited about Canada Day anymore is because Canada has devolved into a collection of competing groups who seek to live at the expense of others.

  8. GonadTheRuffian

    June 20, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    Yet another “Progressive” practising the ancient Leftist art of virtue signaling.

  9. Left Coast

    June 20, 2021 at 10:55 am

    This is just so insane . . . we have know about this situation for 5 years!

    Are these Mayors all brain friggin dead?
    How about have the investigation and then deal with FACTS?

    Anyone check and see what the Mortality Rate of Native Children was living on reserves in the 19th and early 20th Century? Likely 30% or higher . . .

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CLEMENT: No reason to toast federal tax on non-alcoholic beer

Across the board, we should expect better from Ottawa, and the tax on non-alcoholic beer is yet another example of where they’ve gotten it wrong.




Sin-taxes, across all sectors, are fairly excessive in Canada. At almost every turn the government sinks its tax teeth into the process of you purchasing the products you like. This is true for cannabis products, alcohol, tobacco, vaping, gas, and annoyingly so, non-alcoholic beer. Yes, non-alcoholic beer in Canada is not exempt from federal excise taxes.

You read that right. The federal government also extends its sin-tax regime for non-alcoholic beer, at a rate of $2.82/hectolitre.

The application of excise taxes for non-alcoholic beer is problematic for a variety of reasons. The first, and most glaring, is that it is hypocritical given that the federal government has exempted non-alcoholic wine and spirits from the excise tax. Why apply it for beer, but not wine and spirits? Obviously, a more consistent approach would be to simply exempt all non-alcoholic beverages from the excise tax, because the purpose of the sin tax is to recover alcohol-related healthcare costs. That said, there are no alcohol-related healthcare costs at all from non-alcoholic beer, which immediately shows the lunacy of sin-taxing these products.

In addition to correcting hypocrisy, removing the excise tax for non-alcoholic beer would put federal policy in line with how the provinces treat these products. Provincial regulators, including Alberta, don’t require non-alcoholic beverages to be sold at licensed alcohol retail outlets, because they’ve accepted the obvious that these products don’t have alcohol in them and thus shouldn’t be strictly regulated. That is why in Alberta these products are often sold alongside carbonated water and pop. Removing the excise tax would be the federal government following the lead of the provinces in treating non-alcoholic beer differently than beer, because they are in fact different.

On the industry side, the federal excise tax acts as a barrier for product development in Canada, mostly because other beer producing jurisdictions (US,EU,UK) don’t tax non-alcoholic beer. Because of this the domestic industry in those jurisdictions has flourished, offering consumers more choice and at better prices. Their sane tax policy, coupled with increased consumer demand, is in large part why the non-alcoholic beer market is expected to grow to over $4 billion by 2025. These drinks aren’t just for hipsters, designated drivers and pregnant women anymore.

Lastly, and most importantly, is how non-alcoholic beer is yet another example of new products reducing harm for consumers. And while I don’t personally enjoy these drinks, I can see why someone would still want to enjoy a beer with their friends, or at a bar, without the alcohol that comes along with it.

From a harm reduction perspective, it makes perfect sense to have different tax strategies for products that vary in risk. The Trudeau government, at times, has championed harm reduction for illegal drugs but appears to have a blind spot when it comes to legal substances. This is an uncomfortable trend from Ottawa that is perfectly exemplified by the excise tax on non-alcoholic beer. Ottawa has kept the excise tax system for non-smokable THC cannabis products, like edibles and beverages, despite the fact they are significantly less harmful. They’ve sought to ban vape flavours, despite the fact that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking, and flavours are an incredibly useful tool for adult smokers trying to quit.

Across the board, we should expect better from Ottawa, and the tax on non-alcoholic beer is yet another example of where they’ve gotten it wrong. Hopefully, come Budget 2022, they can correct this mistake and remove the excise tax from these products entirely.

David Clement is a columnist for the Western Standard and the North American Affairs Manager with the Consumer Choice Center

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EXCLUSIVE: 2003 hearing ruled Chu’s accuser ‘not to be believed’

“I find her evidence not to be believed and I was not able to consider her evidence when deciding a sentence.”




The accuser at the centre of the embattled Calgary Coun. Sean Chu controversy told a hearing he sexually assaulted her while holding a gun to her head, according to documents obtained by the Western Standard.

But the presiding officer at the police disciplinary hearing, Insp. Debbie Middleton-Hope, said the then 16-year-old minor’s testimony was not credible and not to be believed.

The sentencing hearing took place Jan. 31, 2003 and lasted eight minutes.

Chu did admit to caressing the woman’s leg while in uniform at the King’s Head pub on Macleod Tr. after meeting her while conducting a walk-through patrol in August of 1997.

After his shift, Chu went home to change into civilian clothes before returning to the pub to meet the girl.

Middleton-Hope said in her statement that Chu provided investigators with intimate details of sexual contact the pair had when they returned to his home.

“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 long-serving, well-respected Calgary policewoman, now retired.

The woman, in turn, denied Chu had caressed her leg.

“… her evidence was directed on an aggressive, physical struggle at which time a gun was held to her head,” said Middleton-Hope.

But Middleton-Hope said she found the woman’s testimony “inconsistent.”

“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 addressed the age of the woman, who was 16 at the time.

“I have no evidence before me Const. Chu was aware of this fact. Several witnesses said [the girl] appeared to be 19 to 21 years old,” she ruled.

The accuser also testified she had an interaction with Chu two years previous after an altercation at school. Chu wasn’t the investigating officer, but did speak to the girl on the phone.

“…and [received] a Christmas card from her as a result of that phone call,” Middleton-Hope said.

“No evidence was presented that Constable Chu was aware of her age from this verbal contact.

“I believe Constable Chu to be sincere when he indicates he was unsuspecting of [the accusers] exact age.”

Middletin-Hope then ordered Chu have a letter of reprimand on his file for discreditable conduct for caressing the accuser’s leg while on duty.

Chu was also ordered to undergo six months of ethics training.

Middleton-Hope noted performance reviews in his 10-year police career described Chu as “hard working” and “highly motivated.”

For the third time, Chu was elected on October 18 to be the councillor for Ward 4. He won by 100 votes, winning the advance poll, but losing on election day. Documents over the case had been leaked to the media just days before the election in what Chu called a “political assassination.”

There have been a chorus of demands from other politicians for Chu to resign and a byelection called. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, incoming Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek and most of the incoming council have demanded Chu resign.

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

Dueling protests — one for Chu and one against — are planned in front of city hall on Sunday.

Chu has vowed to not resign and wants to clear his name.

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

Chu admits there was “some touching underneath clothes” in the 1997 incident.

“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.

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

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.

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.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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TV news mistakes leads to censure

“The details were clearly inaccurate and related to historical facts,” wrote the Canada Broadcast Standards Council.




A St. John’s TV station breached newsroom ethics when it put out a report containing mistakes, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The TV station was censured for garbling a handful of facts in a local story.

“The details were clearly inaccurate and related to historical facts,” wrote the Canada Broadcast Standards Council.

Correct information “could have been easily verified by the reporter prior to airing the news segment,” wrote the Council.

NTV on its flagship suppertime newscast last April 26 broadcast a story on a local parole case that misstated the year of the crime, the date the killer was convicted, and the number of years the murderer served in the penitentiary.

“This whole story was riddled with inconsistencies,” complained one viewer.

“He was charged and convicted in 2003. They reported 2002.

“These facts were not factual. There were four mistakes in the story.”

NTV management apologized and acknowledged errors were made as the story was “rushed to air” but denied any breach of newsroom ethics.

“Although we do not believe our coverage of this story was in breach of any industry guidelines or codes, we understand every individual may view news material or programming from a different perspective,” wrote station managers.

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code Of Ethics states, “It shall be the responsibility of broadcasters to ensure that news shall be represented with accuracy.”

A similar Code Of Journalistic Ethics by the Radio Television Digital News Association states: “We are committed to journalism in the public interest that is accurate and reliable.”

“There was no deliberate attempt by NTV to change the narrative of this story which focused on the revocation of the parole of the convicted murderer,” wrote the Standards Council.

“It is understandable that in a rush to get the story to air, incorrect pieces of information were used.”

“Journalists should strive to verify facts and put them in context. These inaccuracies constitute breaches.”

There are no fines for breaching TV codes. The station must announce the violation on its newscast.

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