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SLOBODIAN: NDP stuns with hypocrisy over protecting parks

But about a week later, at its provincial convention, the NDP ever so quietly supported a motion to legalize tent cities for the homeless in Alberta’s municipal parks.

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The Alberta NDP want you to know they’re fervently dedicated to protecting parks.

Wow, that’s so honourable. 

Even the parks in your neighbourhood? 

Oh no, not those parks. The NDP has other plans for them that should alarm Albertans.

On May 27, the NDP introduced a bill to “defend Alberta’s parks,” specifically provincial parks and recreation areas.

They issued a press release, making a big splash about wanting to protect playgrounds, presumably for Bambi, Thumper and the whole wildlife gang. 

When it comes to announcements about provincial parks, they trip all over each other whilst stampeding to get in front of the cameras.

But about a week later at its provincial convention, the NDP ever so quietly supported a motion to legalize tent cities for the homeless in Alberta’s municipal parks.

Nope, no press conference. Couldn’t even find a press release about wanting your kids to forfeit their play areas and be exposed to the serious problems tent cities always bring to both neighbourhoods – and to the people who inhabit them.

The private member’s bill – Bill 218: Provincial Parks (Protecting Park Boundaries) Amendment Act, 2021—would prevent the government from selling or delisting provincial parks without consulting Albertans, something Premier Jason Kenney’s UCP already said it’s not going to do.

Nonetheless, the Bill demanded before making changes it already said it’s not going to make, the UCP government must “engage with Albertans for at least 60 days” in public consultation and follow a strict legislative process. 

All proposed changes “must be posted on a publicly accessible website,” says the Bill.

“They’re (parks) part of our identity and Albertans should have a say in how they’re managed,” said NDP Environment and Parks critic Marlin Schmidt.

“The UCP can’t be trusted with our parks.”

Really? The UCP can’t be trusted?

So, how much consultation did the NDP do with all Albertans before passing a motion supporting converting their neighbourhood parks into tent cities?

Sixty days? Any days at all? If so, missed it!

And if there’s anything about this on the official NDP website, it’s tucked away somewhere very deep.

Hypocrites.

The NDP’s solution to a growing homeless crisis they helped create with policies they still support, that devastated the provincial economy and hurt struggling Albertans, focuses on “establishing safe, legal campsites on public lands.”

Tent cities have failed miserably everywhere.

Do you really trust the NDP to miraculously accomplish what no one anywhere ever has been able to accomplish?

Throughout North America, tent cities have destroyed neighbourhoods and the businesses in them. They threaten the safety of area residents. They are rife with human waste and garbage. They are never controlled. They spread. 

Area residents oppose them. Not because they don’t care about the plight of the homeless, but because their way of life is legitimately threatened. Crime increases. Property values go down. 

What about their rights?

And how is this fair to the homeless? Tent cities thrust homeless people – victims of hard luck, including children and youth – in with drug addicts, those prone to violence, and others suffering serious mental health issues.

Tent cities are a lazy, heartless, cowardly way governments choose to deal with the homeless problem.

They merely address, very poorly and even dangerously, a symptom of multiple deeper problems. 

Supporting them as a solution to the gut-wrenching, frightening, harsh predicament of being homeless really screams: ‘We give up on you.’

In 2015, then NDP Premier Rachael Notley pledged to deal with the “huge” issue of affordable housing.

In the 2016 budget, the Notley government doubled spending on affordable housing to $892 million over five years.

That is a lot of money. In the time before she got booted out by Alberta voters — how many people needing affordable housing benefited?

That’s not clear. The NDP, who piously profess to be champions of transparency and righteously demand it from others, did not respond to calls or emails.

One thing’s very clear. Absolutely certain, in fact. 

If the NDP ever get back in power, a tent city will spring up in a park near you – public consultation be damned.

Slobodian is a columnist for the Western Standard based in Manitoba

Linda Slobodian is the Manitoba Senior Columnist for the Western Standard. She has been an investigative columnist with the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, and Alberta Report. lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Claudette Leece

    July 21, 2021 at 7:43 am

    If folks are so for these tent cities, take a trip to LA and see what those tent cities have done to Malibu , the boardwalk. Folks with million dollar homes held hostage by folks dealing with mental illness, drug addiction. They live in fear at night what will happen to their property, and of coarse can’t sell their properties because who in their right mind would buy them. If folks want to deal with the drug problem, the federal governments , need to put their foot down and stop China from sending millions of lbs of fenantyl from that country. Blind eyes and well filled pockets, plague BC and ON , who pay no attention to the goods coming into Canada. Then when these folks are exposed , nothing is done in the courts to deport these king pins, who live in mansions in Richmond and Markem. This is not a secret, just a lack of will and no interest , in there provinces ability to deal with these issues, while peoples brothers, sisters are the collateral damage, that China plays Canada like a puppet and we have a PM who is too weak to stand up to them

  2. Baron Not Baron

    July 20, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    NDP is communism. Communism is death. If not immediate death, then a slow and painful death. Don’t touch that!

  3. Andrew

    June 23, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    Of course the NDP can’t be trusted.

  4. Richard

    June 22, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    Ms. Slobodian is a gem. Great article not that I need anything else to drive my disgust for the dishonest, venom-spewing Ms. Notley. And pretty much any NDP supporter.

  5. Wesley

    June 22, 2021 at 10:57 am

    NDP can’t be trusted on anything. As disappointed as I am with the UCP the NDP would be a total disaster for Alberta should they ever come into power again.

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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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