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Calgary MP holds government accountable over undelivered vaccines

“I’ve been hoping that there would be perhaps more media attention drawn to it.”

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MP Tom Kmiec filed an Access to Information request that revealed a secret government payout to a Chinese vaccine company, and raises many questions about the Liberal government’s handling of COVID-19.

Calgary Shepard MP Tom Kmiec and his office recently filed an Access to Information request that unearthed some alarming information about a contracts between the National Research Council and a Chinese biological company called CanSino.

Kmiec describes the discovery as beginning with the National Research Council (NRC), a government agency responsible for putting out grants and conducting research. The NRC was delegated during the pandemic to do research on COVID-19 vaccinations.

Kmiec said “… the contract I got was one that was signed between the NRC and CanSino Biologics.” He went on to say CanSino “… has a very close connection to the central commission in Beijing, which is the government there. So basically they [the NRC] paid them a contract and … it said there was a non-refundable, non-creditable nominal fee, which basically means it’s an upfront cash transfer from the NRC to CanSino to do research.

“So CanSino would then bear the costs of the lab work, paying all the scientists, doing all this stuff. It’s basically a signed contract to do the COVID-19 vaccine research and procurement in it, and that’s what that contract was all about.”

Kmiec also provides access for the public to view the contract to make a decision for themselves.

“I made the whole AtI public so the whole contract is public. There’s a few redacted components, mainly – primarily – the actual moneys that were transferred. It’s available if you click on my Facebook page, publicly available to anyone.

“It’s section 10 through 14 of the contract – one that says the NRC will pay the collaborator, which is the company – this non-refundable, non-creditable material transfer that they have an estimate of how much it will be.

“Then when you continue, they also agree to a performance of work and they’ve attached something called a statement of work and deliverables. This is the explanation of what this contract is all about, and they’ve also attached a general conditions clause,” said Kmiec.

“Now, I’ve seen in the news some people reached out to the minister’s office like other journalists have asked, and the response they got there was, ‘Well, we never transferred any actual cash ’cause the deal fell apart so quickly.’

“That doesn’t make any sense to me. If the government signed a deal, and just didn’t transfer the money, that seems like a very weird thing to do. And if the deal did fall apart they still signed an agreement, they were still going to pay them out a huge sum of money.”

Kmiec said although the Access to Information filing redacted the actual dollar amount that was paid to CanSino, the black square over top of it was very long – indicating a payment estimated to be in the millions.

“You can also tell that it is a huge sum of money just based on how big the blackout area is. They can’t modify the original document, when they provided an AtI, so it has to be … in the millions because that would be a sufficient amount of zeros if they’re using the two decimal points after the four pennies. I think it’s in the billions just based on how big the space is.”

Liberal MP’s, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have consistently denied not only the amount of money paid to CanSino but the entire contract itself.

On May 12 2021 when asked by Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole in the House about why the government chose to give the contract to CanSino, Trudeau replied “That is simply not true, we signed seven vaccine contracts with vaccine makers from around the world and not one of them was from China.”

Trudeau’s sentiments were echoed by Liberal MP Sonia Sidhu in a Commons health committee meeting on June 11 saying “…that is not correct, we need to clarify there’s never been a contract between CanSino and the Government of Canada.”

Yet another Liberal MP, William Amos, told the same committee Feb. 18 2021 “… on the issue of CanSino, there is a false narrative being pedlled that Canada somehow put all its eggs in the CanSino basket.”

Iain Stewart, Research Council president at the time, announced on May 12 2020 that CanSino’s vaccine “…holds great promise,” and was “…one of only a handful of vaccine candidates in the world against COVID-19.”

Stewart also initially said the agency was “proud of our ongoing relationship with CanSino Biologics,” but later refused to answer MP’s questions about the contract at a Feb. 2 2021 hearing of the Commons industry committee.

Kmiec said: “The Liberals lied at the beginning because they said they made no such agreement, that they didn’t transfer any cash, it turns out it’s true, I guess. They’re saying its true that they didn’t transfer any money, but they did sign an agreement and they were very very insistent that they had not at the beginning.”

Kmiec also cites this contract as an indication to the Liberals’ overall handling of pandemic provisions since the beginning of COVID-19.

“They still botched the response to the pandemic from the very beginning by trying to get this deal signed with CanSino. They can’t pretend that the National Resource Council was doing this on its own – they were being directed by the government.”

“They claim they have no agreement. Now, there is an agreement in their own files, and now they’re still pretending they didn’t transfer the money. I simply don’t believe them.”

Kmiec speculated on how this was allowed to happen like this, saying:

“I think part of it is during a pandemic it’s easy to make really declaratory statements – either something is true a 100 % or false a 100 % – and I think they took a lot of political heat for their very close ties and almost an affinity to China.

“I think that’s why they’re so aggressively pushing back against the claim that there was no contract, there was no money transferred. It’s because I think they’re worried the public has kind of realized that you cannot deal with an authoritarian government like the one in Beijing honestly.

“Because they’re not honest with us, they’ve been holding two of our citizens – (and) many others – but two very prominent citizens, now the two Michael’s, for well over a thousand days now I think.”

Kmiec echoed the belief of many that the Trudeau administration has trust in the Chinese government, and cites their apathy in foreign policy concerning China.

“The government has shown an immense weakness on anything related to the government in Beijing. If you tie in also the Uighurs genocide motion that was passed in the House of Commons the government … they just sent their foreign affairs minister to say he was abstaining on behalf of the government.”

Speculating on why the Liberal government has so adamantly denied the existence of the contract and the payout, Kmiec said “… again, that’s not leadership, that’s just such weakness in the face of an authoritarian government.

“Then when it comes to things like this, when they do talk tough around the government in Beijing and pushing back, and then secretly you’re signing this agreement they then profusely have to deny.

“I think it’s because they know they take a public hit in their polling and I think that’s all they ever look at. This doesn’t poll well, and therefore it’s best to just deny as harshly, and make a declaratory statement that’s absolutely false.”

According to Kmiec this isn’t the first time the Liberals have attempted something like this. “I’m used to this, this isn’t the first time they said something that turned out to be completely untrue.”

When asked about whether or not he believed that the CanSino deal put Canadians at a vaccine disadvantage, Kmiec said: “Well we [Canadians] were and we are [disadvantaged regarding vaccines].

“The vaccine rollout has obviously sped up quite a bit since then but we’re behind the United Kingdom and other Western countries which got their vaccine deliveries much sooner.

“We had an entire wave in the spring time that is totally the fault of the Liberals. The United Kingdom didn’t go through that because they got their vaccine supply on time, and it’s also because they didn’t waste time to get an aggressive authoritarian government to do some basic research with them,” Kmiec said.

“While these guys did. This CanSino Biological agreement that they did sign – and they were going to do it until it fell apart – just wasted time, and in a pandemic you don’t have time to waste trying to work with an authoritarian government you can’t trust.”

Kmiec added they should’ve gone straight for the major pharmaceutical companies and the major universities, like Oxford, that were already developing a potential vaccine candidate.

“They should’ve gone to them instead of going to Beijing, but their inflection was ‘go to Beijing first’ which is again, it’s part of that pattern of weakness that they have and this affinity they have for the government in Beijing.”

When asked what he believed would happen next with this situation and how it might develop further, MP Kmiec said: “I’ve been hoping that there would be perhaps more media attention drawn to it. I’ll be honest, I filed a lot of Access to Information requests and you can see that in my public disclosure of my expenses for my office, I file a lot. I’ve probably filed over 500 this year already with my staff.

“I do probably half the volume of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation just by myself. Most of the time I don’t get anything valuable, I don’t get anything outside of regular kind of hum drum of government documents.

“But this one is pretty important, the government claimed something that was completely untrue. I think it’s opened questions like how much did they know, how much were they involved, and were they really on top of government operations as they should’ve been?”

Kmiec also said he hopes that this issue doesn’t get swept under the rug in time for the election: “I’m hoping it makes a bigger splash perhaps during the election and people draw their own conclusions.”

“The conclusion I draw from this – and I hope others will share it with me – is this government has a weakness for the authoritarian government in Beijing.”

Kmiec is hopeful that this will allow the Canadian public to make more informed decisions about their government.

“Could we have done better? Was this a mistake? Did this prolong the pandemic in Canada? I think are all fair questions which is why we’ve called for this public inquiry. I’m hopeful this AtI will form part of the documents that this inquiry will look at.”

Jackie Conroy is a Correspondent for the Western Standard
jconroy@westernstandardonline.com

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Baron Not Baron

    July 12, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    Calgary MP is out of his mind, like the majority of the imbecile nation from the cities, especially.

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Loophole benching minor hockey in Cochrane

Within hours of sending out the e-mail, Oaten confirmed between 30 and 40 kids had withdrawn from the program.

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Although new restrictions announced this week allow for recreational sports to continue for youth under 18 without proof of vaccination, one minor detail is benching minor hockey players in Cochrane.

Thursday morning, Cochrane Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) President Cory Oaten, was sent an e-mail from Hockey Alberta stating: “…based on Hockey Alberta’s interpretation of current information, minor hockey games and practices can continue, subject to the updated temporary measures that came into effect at 12:01 am this morning.”

However, Friday morning, Oaten was notified by his local facility, Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre, it would be requiring proof of vaccination for those 12 and older entering the building.

That morning Oaten notified families registered with CMHA of the new requirement and included a provided statement from the facility and assured families the decision was not that of Hockey Alberta or CMHA.

“… all persons entering the Cochrane Arena or SLSFSC (ages 12+) must show proof of full vaccination, proof of a single dose as long as the dose was given more than two weeks ago, a negative test result or a medical doctor approved medical exemption.”

“Tonnes of kids are withdrawing,” Oaten said.

Within hours of sending out the e-mail, Oaten confirmed between 30 and 40 kids had withdrawn from the program.

“I’m not against the vaccines, but I’m pro-choice,” Oaten said.

The Western Standard spoke with one father who pulled his CMHA player as a result of the facility mandates. He requested to remain anonymous.

“Obviously the government is just passing the buck on this and it’s the businesses that are going to take the brunt,” he said.

A father of four children under the age of 12, he was also in line to coach his son’s team, but will not be permitted inside as he is not vaccinated.  

“We’re not the type of parents that are just going to drop our kids off at a facility and leave them unsupervised,” he said, adding those decisions effectively ended his kids’ participation in CMHA’s sports programs.

He said he also has concerns for the liability involved with those businesses being ill-equipped to manage peoples’ sensitive health records.

“Forget the legality of all this. Morally, we just can’t support businesses that take this approach.”

Alberta Country Singer and former health care worker at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Paul Brandt, took to Facebook on Friday to express his thoughts on the vaccine passport issue.  

Facebook post

“I want to be clear, I am not against vaccines,” his post confirms. “What is troubling to me is this: Why aren’t people who have had COVID and recovered being included in the conversation?”

Brandt’s son is a CMHA player. Both have recovered from COVID-19.

“Why are we not being recognized as people who have adequate immunity?

As of today, my son has also been told by the arena that hosts his hockey association he will not be allowed to participate in sports unless he is vaccinated—even though he has immunity to COVID-19, and is of no greater risk to his peers than anyone else.”

Oaten pointed out that players who have yet to be vaccinated will be eliminated from the important tryouts happening now and, because of wait times between doses and the 14-day waiting period to be considered fully vaccinated, many will miss a chunk of the season.

“It’s about the kids,” said an emotional Oaten.

“What makes me upset is kids are going to have to quit hockey because they don’t want to have to choose a medical procedure in order to play.”

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

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WS EXCLUSIVE: UCP vice-president calls for emergency meeting to initiate leadership review

“I think we need to carefully consider the option of initiating a leadership review. I believe the future of our party may be at stake.”

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The Western Standard has obtained an email from the vice-president (policy) of Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) calling for an emergency meeting of the province-wide board of directors to discuss a leadership review of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

Joel Mullan e-mailed the party’s board of directors at 8:33 pm MST September 17, under the subject line “Leadership review—request for meeting.”

“In light of events this past week, I believe we should meet and therefore request a meeting,” wrote Mullan.

“Specifically, I think we need to carefully consider the option of initiating a leadership review. I believe the future of our party may be at stake.”

The Western Standard spoke to a member of the party’s board of directors who received the e-mail who said—on condition of anonymity—a timely review of Kenney’s leadership has “become inevitable.”

As of publishing it’s not known if the request for an emergency meeting has been accepted by party president Ryan Becker or the board at large.

One day before, the Western Standard reported the UCP constituency association (CA) in Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills voted almost unanimously to trigger a prompt leadership review of Kenney.

The party currently has a review scheduled for late 2022, but that could be within six months of the next election, and for local CA president Robert Smith, that’s not good enough.

By a vote of 27-1, the CA’s board voted to send a letter to the party demanding a review before that as soon as possible, but before next March, said Smith.

“We would love for it to happen tomorrow,” Smith told the Western Standard.

“In talking to people, mainly rural people, it’s fair to say we have no confidence in the premier.”

While the letter was sent on the heels of controversial new COVID-19 lockdown restrictions introduced by Kenney—including the imposition of a vaccine passport—Smith stressed the letter wasn’t as a result of that, but had been brewing for months.

But he said those restrictions could help the momentum to reach the mark of 22 ridings needed to spark a leadership review.

Smith said he gets a sense in talking to other constituency association leaders “critical mass of 22 ridings could have been reached now.

“I feel confident in saying that target can now be met. I’m surprised it hasn’t been met before,” he said.

Clockwise, Jason Nixon, Tyler Shandro, Jason Kenney, Travis Toews, and an unidentified guest on the rooftop patio of the “Sky Palace”

One of the biggest concerns for the board was when the now infamous pictures f Kenney holding an outdoor dinner on the balcony of the “Sky Palace”—in contravention of the government’s of laws, regulations, and guidelines—were published.

“The entitlement and the double standard incensed the board,” said Smith.

In April, a UCP MLA told the Western Standard they are “100% certain” Kenney will be the subject of an early party leadership review.

“Caucus is in total chaos,” said the MLA, who spoke with the Western Standard on the condition of anonymity.

The Western Standard reported earlier there are at least eight ridings now on board for a review.

Even earlier this week there were signs of dissension with the UCP Caucus.

During a tense meeting of caucus Tuesday, three MLAs told Kenney they had “no confidence” in his continued premiership of the province and leadership of the party, multiple sources told the Western Standard.

Sources inside of the caucus told the Western Standard the emergency meeting saw sharp polarization around the issues of putting the province under another lockdown, a potential mandatory vaccine passport, and firing healthcare workers who did not agree to be vaccinated.

According to the MLAs who attended the caucus meeting, three MLAs openly told Kenney they had “no confidence” in him, and several others implied as much using softer language.

The sources all gave the same three names, but none of the three MLAs responded to request for comment or confirmation from the Western Standard.

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THOMSON: An Alberta solution to the drug poisoning crisis

A regulated drug supply is the best deal on offer to shrink public health costs and enforcement budgets and repossess the drug market from organized crime syndicates, while creating good jobs and preserving the lives of thousands of working-age Albertans.

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Dr. Euan Thomson is an entrepreneur, scientist and director of EACH+EVERY, a coalition of over 100 Alberta businesses calling for policy action to end the overdose crisis.

Drug poisoning is the leading cause of death among working-age Albertans, claiming more than 1,800 Albertan lives since the beginning of 2020. Almost all of these people were between the ages of 15 and 60, and people in the trades are vastly overrepresented.

These tragedies are more accurately called poisonings because people typically cannot be certain what they’re taking when they consume illegal drugs. Surviving through an unregulated drug supply is its own small miracle, particularly as elephant-strength synthetic opioids like carfentanil now slip through our sieve-like borders.

Let’s face it: synthetic opioids have extinguished any hope of “winning” the war on drugs, given the entire 2016 American fentanyl supply could fit into a dozen oil drums.

Albertans are free thinkers, and this crisis calls for a made-in-Alberta solution that centres personal autonomy, free enterprise, fiscal responsibility, and a healthy irreverence toward federal power. A century into drug prohibition with nothing to show but accelerating body counts, it is time to regain control through a regulated market.

The idea that in a regulated market, we would walk into corner stores and find crystal meth between the Mentos and Tic Tacs would be laughable if it wasn’t so widely cited. For experimenting adolescents, alcohol is at least as hard to obtain as illegal drugs precisely because its access is controlled—a distinction that also encourages open conversations and harm reduction measures. We can implement regulatory barriers as needed to keep kids safe, but only once we control the supply. For adults, the question is much simpler: shouldn’t we be allowed to put what we want in our bodies?

Decriminalization is the first step toward a legal market. Since decriminalizing drugs 20 years ago, Portugal has among the lowest youth drug use rates in Europe and effectively left its drug poisoning crisis behind. Our federal parties are short on details around their vision for ending Canada’s crisis, but the Western Standard Editorial Board recently gave the federal NDP’s platform section on drug policy the only A-grade for endorsing decriminalization and other measures emphasizing personal autonomy and freedom from harassment by authorities. (For the record, it was one of the only high-scoring parts of the NDP platform from the Western Standard.)

It turns out, people across the political spectrum agree after a hundred years, criminalization has failed to even slow down drug use, let alone end it.

While personal autonomy and market philosophy are intuitive drug policy cornerstones, the fiscal argument is at least as compelling. The Cato Institute reports ending the War on Drugs would eliminate $27 billion USD a year from American enforcement budgets and siphon $40 billion a year from organized crime. For Canada, this translates to billions cut from our enforcement, judicial and incarceration balance sheet and billions added to taxable sales. Meanwhile, reducing hospital visits due to drug poisonings could single-handedly solve the chronic ambulance shortages squeezing our emergency response capacity.

A regulated drug supply is the best deal on offer to shrink public health costs and enforcement budgets and repossess the drug market from organized crime syndicates, while creating good jobs and preserving the lives of thousands of working-age Albertans.

How can we propel this plan against the drag of federal inaction?

First, set up a province-wide exemption from Section 56 of the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to abolish police enforcement of drug possession laws.

Next, support Albertan pilot projects to prescribe safe supply options to encourage more widespread access and choke off the demand for a street supply. Non-profit compassion clubs would cover those who cannot afford their prescriptions, as we saw during cannabis prohibition.

Finally, establish the first provincial Section 55 exemption to allow for drug manufacturing and distribution here at home, a move that would instantly benefit a Lethbridge-based operation and their partners in the nearby Blood Tribe. Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis already looks after compliance for legal drugs; we can apply similar stringency around labelling on the new products so people know what they’re taking.

Then watch as other provinces struggling with the same crisis adopt this updated, evidence-based Alberta Model; one that aligns compassion for people who use drugs with core values shared by so many in this province: personal autonomy, free enterprise, and fiscal responsibility.

While we’re at it, we can thumb our collective nose at a century of bad federal policy—all together, on brand for Alberta.

Tell your local federal and municipal candidates, as well as your provincial MLA, you want to see your values reflected in our drug policies.

Dr. Euan Thomson is an entrepreneur, scientist and director of EACH+EVERY, a coalition of over 100 Alberta businesses calling for policy action to end the overdose crisis.


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